Boston Pride, an organization that celebrates the LGBT community, has been accepted by the South Boston Allied War Veteran's Council to march in this year's South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Sylvain Bruni, the group's president, is ecstatic to learn that he will be marching in the parade. He says the council has unanimously accepted its application.
Parade organizers announced last week they had excepted the Outvet application, a group of LGBT veterans. But Bruni says this is much different - now, he says, Boston Pride can welcome all their allies to march with them on Sunday, and not just those who are veterans.
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Mayor Marty Walsh will now be the first to march in the parade since Tom Menino boycotted the exclusions 20 years ago.
"I'm thrilled that the St. Patrick's Day parade is inclusive this year, and the addition of Boston Pride to the list of participants reflects the values of the South Boston neighborhood," said Mayor Marty Walsh.
This was the first year that the group allied to march.
Parade organizers also recently announced plans to allow a group of openly gay veterans to participate.
John "Wacko" Hurley, the organizational face of the parade for almost 50 years and a major force in keeping gay groups out, told necn he is retiring from the Allied War Veterans Council.
Hurley says the decision has nothing to do with the decision to allow Boston Pride to march in this year's parade.
"I'd put the boxing gloves on with them any day," he said.
For many years, Hurley fought efforts by gay veterans groups to march in the parade.
CJ Doyle of the Catholic Action League says it is cynical that gay and lesbian groups would want to be marching in honor of a Catholic saint when they have nothing but disdain for the religion.
Friday, the Knights of Columbus also announced that they would not be participating.
"We deeply regret that some have decided to use this occasion to further the narrow objectives of certain special interests, which has subjected this occasion to undeserved division and controversy," the Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus said in a statement.
One of the first calls Boston Pride made after learning their application had been excepted was to Angela Menino, the wife of the late Mayor Menino. She Menino said she was very happy with the news.
In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade had a constitutional right to exclude LGBT organizations and individuals from participating in the annual parade.
Boston Pride is celebrating 45 years as an organization.
The 114th annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place on March 15.
You can watch the parade live on necn and www.necn.com. We'll kick off the celebration with our "Live on the Green Carpet" pre-show at 9 a.m., followed at 10 by the Breakfast with host State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. The parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m.
For complete coverage, click here.